Have you ever wondered about Muncie’s finances or how the people on the city’s finance committee figure how to spend it? I know, it’s a mystery, right? Well, not any longer. Now you too can be a pseudo city controller. It’s easy. We’ll show how simple it can be. And it’s free.
The new report format is not as fancy as the older reports. Not as detailed, either. Nevertheless, it tells a story of Muncie from 2011-2017 in a clean, easy to read and understandable format. Muncie Politics has prepared two reports for you to review.
The first is the Muncie Tax Finance dashboard 2011-17. It’s Muncie at-a-glance report.
The next report Muncie Tax and Finance Time Comparison 2012-17 displays the tax rates and basic information in a clear timeline. Yep, the tax levy has increased every year. As well as the city payroll. 2015 wasn’t a good year for Muncie or Delaware County residents.
September 2015 the city raised a 43% income tax. From start to finish it took 14 days to pass that tax. Amazing, huh? The sad part is, no one even noticed prior to the tax increase the city finances were shaky. That’s o.k. because the city building commissioner received a nice raise and his company demolished buildings paid from the increased EDIT in 2016.
See, folks, it’s all good.
Now, if you want to explore the city’s taxes and finances all one has to do is click on the image below. Enter your favorite government agency and then choose the type of report. Bam! You are good to go!
You will be armed with enough information to make a wise decision at the polls come election time. When an elected official, an appointed “public” employee, or a candidate tell you something you’ll be able to discern if it is true or if they are just blowing smoke. A wonderful position to be: an informed citizen. A scary thing to those who lust after monetary gain for their benefit.
Michael Hicks brings to us another Tale of TIF Districts. In case you missed it…
The required report has been submitted to the State of Indiana for the year 2015. If you’re interested in looking at the financials of TIF districts in Delaware County have at it.delaware-county-tif-districts-2015 Just for the record, the TIF debt which is slated to be paid off in, oh, say, 25 or more years will more than likely never be retired.
You see, once the debt load is decreased, the borrowing begins again and TIF revenue is never returned to the taxing entities. This includes schools, libraries, general fund, etc.
So what good is a TIF? If managed properly TIF can be a plus for the community with infrastructure and an increase in businesses and jobs. Paying off the districts, and in the case of Muncie, the return of tax dollars would be around $4 million today.
Considering Muncie had to pass an income tax just to make ends meet in 2015, doubt seriously Muncie will be able to pa the debt off early. At least not while it continues to spend more than it takes in. No doubt, everyone involved in local TIF will be out of office the debt will be left for someone else to handle and the people left will be footing the bill.
Pay and partnerships link Muncie cop, gun dealer (Star Press 7-6-16)
Check out the latest on the City of Muncie’s demolitions. This is a second in a series of columns Larry Riley has written. The first had four properties which were vacant, yet the City Building Commissioner’s company demolished four buildings. There was no demolition permit attached. The properties had been empty lots for years. Several people commented on the article confirming the lots were vacant, too.
In the second article, Mayor Tyler said it was a mistake and gave the correct addresses which weren’t close to the ones on the original invoices. Not to mention, the cost of the demolitions were much higher than others by private companies. Oh, wait, the building commissioner’s company is a private company. Pardon me.
Oh, and there is no Conflict of Interest Muncie 2015 on file with the State of Indiana. Craig Nichols’ company is not there. Class D felony for not filing. I’m sure this missing conflict of interest forms will surface. Probably in the desk of the former city clerk as she more than likely just forgot to file with the State.
And, and…the City of Muncie received $4 million from the State of Indiana who received millions from the Federal government for the demolition of blighted properties. Nothing has been done with that money and it’s been a few years. Probably the building commissioner’s company is way too busy tearing down vacant lots to take on any new city contracts.
This is about enough excitement one can handle for a Saturday evening in this fair city.
Until next time…..
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. James Madison
Please take a look at Muncie’s financials.
These two reports ran in January 2016 and February 2016. The latest report shows a debt increase of $10 million.
Muncie revenue received for the years 2011 to 2015. The revenue sources includes property taxes, federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, fees, donations and grants.
Detailed Receipts 2011 to 2015
If you would like to look at the revenue streams the reports below give details. As you can see, property taxes have been on a decline since 2011. This should have been the first clue.
When revenue begins to decrease while debt increases it would be wise to consider the cost of debt and what it means. The first cost was public services which could only be fully funded with a tax increase. The second cost is economic development and it will only partially be funded with the recent tax increase.
You do need to consider the cost. If the debt can not be met, and there are no more taxes to increase what then? Fees? Fines? You don’t need to be in the dark when it comes to Local and State government finances any longer. In fact, it is imperative, for our future, to be well informed.
James Madison was a wise man giving wise advice which is still relevant today.
On Thursday the Muncie newspaper reported on the purchase of a property by Muncie Sanitary District. The District purchased the property for $395,000.
On Friday, the newspaper reported the property was appraised by unlicensed appraisers.
I would like to point out the quote from Mayor Tyler:
Mayor Dennis Tyler said Friday he wasn’t familiar with The Star Press report about the purchase of the flea market building in the 1700 block of East Main Street.
“All I know is that the city of Muncie and sanitary district have to get those levees recertified,” Tyler said. “It’s an expensive process they’re going through.”
In December 2014, the State of Indiana audited the District finding eight projects paying over the quoted prices. The lowest percentage was 22% and the highest was 822%. The total amount over the quoted prices was $300,763. Knowing an expensive process is in the making, perhaps Mayor Tyler needs to be more cognizant of how tax money is used. Read the rest of this entry »
Walking down memory lane
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. 2013 was the year when MCS planned to stop bus service unless the referendum was passed. The Democrat Party held a press conference in support of the $45 million tax increase. At that time, Democrat Headquarters property was tax exempt. This property would be exempt from paying the tax. I’m not sure if they pay a voluntary PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Property Taxes), it does seem if there is so much concern for safety, they would gladly pay PILOT.
Plans, plans and more plans
Muncie Community Schools claimed they were working with the City of Muncie on a plan to get children back and forth to school safely. At the public hearing in December 2013 before the Indiana Department of Education, no one from the City of Muncie presented any plan. In fact, not one representative from the city spoke on any plan. A member of the IDOE board asked if there was a plan. The answer was no. No fiscal plan and no safety plan.
Income tax increase
Fast forward to September 1st, 2015 when Mayor Tyler announced the LOIT tax would be passed. 43% increase in income taxes for employees all over Delaware County. Muncie was denied renewal of the SAFER grant and although the Mayor assured the public the city had enough money to continue public safety, we didn’t. Hence, the passing of the tax in 14 days.
The 2016 City budget had been crafted in August 2015. Neither the Mayor or Muncie City Council ever mentioned the possibility funds would be short. Leading citizens to believe public safety monies were available in the budget. Mayor Tyler presented the LOIT tax, and I suppose the lack of funds which no one seemed to notice may have been justified. Still, if safety is foremost in the Mayor’s mind, he certainly didn’t seem to be monitoring it closely.
The Great Debate – Safety
The big debate now is if the Muncie Community Schools should be closed or delayed because of weather. It shows up every winter season. Yet, MCS has a history of no delays and seldom closes. The winters of 2014 & 2015 were certainly out of the norm. Extreme weather conditions warranted the closing of schools, businesses and canceling of events.
Mayor Tyler did not miss the opportunity to weigh in through his Twitter account.
Words vs. Actions
This brings me to aligning words with actions. While the Mayor feels compelled to criticize Muncie Comunity Schools, he seems to be oblivious to the children, teenagers and adults which are forced to walk in the streets because the City of Muncie doesn’t enforce the ordinance of snow removal from sidewalks.
Certainly, it is a difficult ordinance to enforce. Yet, not that difficult it seems. Last year, a property owner was clearing the sidewalks of his property. The ordinance police showed up and wanted to levy a fine against the owner for complying with the city ordinance. As it goes, the citizen had blown some snow into a street which had not yet been plowed. Police were called and nothing came of it. To my knowledge, no one from the city addressed the incident.
Yet all around the vicinity were sidewalks that had not been cleared. Go figure…
Speed limits and stop signs
The City of Muncie is busy lowering speed limits on streets and installing stop signs in obscure locations, they can’t seem to come up with a safety plan or a way to enforce their own ordinances.
If safety is a concern, might one suggest the Mayor use some of the tax dollars he increased to make our sidewalks safe to walk on in the winter months? Not sure how safe Memorial or Tillotson is for foot traffic, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
All this just to say, align their words with actions. So, I’ll leave you with an op-ed cleverly written and laced with humor: